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How to… provide mentoring

Senior biomedical scientist Asha Velani discusses mentoring and the setting up of a scheme for students at the University of Westminster.

Defining mentoring is a challenge in itself. To me, it refers to helping another person to become what they aspire to be. A mentor can be anyone from a teacher, advisor or senior manager, to a family member.

Within our working life we are constantly mentoring individuals, be it new starters or those seeking further training or advice on advancement within their profession. Providing such advice to colleagues within the working-studious environment is what I feel makes a good mentor.

Why mentoring?

Mentoring is important, not only because of the theoretical and practical skills a mentee can learn from mentors, but also because mentoring provides professional and personal support to promote success to mentees, be it in their studies or in their working life.

Working within the NHS for over a decade, I have learnt how to be a good mentor from the guidance given to me by a senior member of staff – when situations became challenging, they showed me how to deal with such tasks professionally. This allowed me to view situations with an open mind and to
plan my future career.

Employed currently as a senior biomedical scientist, mentoring is more important than ever. The dedication to helping colleagues, tailoring guidance to meet individual needs is fundamental to a mentees development, both personally and professionally. This is further enhanced by seeing students employed currently within Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust thrive.

The positive outcome of training in-house has allowed me to further mentor students currently at university, so in collaboration with the University of Westminster, I have joined their mentoring pool.

What do we hope to accomplish with this programme?

We hope the students will benefit from the following:

  • Acquiring an understanding of the professional world
  • Gaining insight into chosen career areas
  • Increasing their professional network
  • Developing their employability skills
  • Building their self-confidence.

What is this programme?

The University of Westminster’s Career Development Centre Mentoring Scheme aims to connect students with professionals for a long-term mentoring relationship. As a facilitator of personal and professional growth, our mentors can help students to succeed by enhancing their employability through confidence building, networking and developing key skills that will improve their competitiveness in the graduate labour market. By sharing knowledge and insights gained through previous experiences, mentors provide students with the chance to learn about opportunities available in specific career areas, including the very attractive area of biomedical science. 

With the help of a mentor as a role model, many of our students have gone on to secure highly competitive roles across a range of industries.

The scheme has a global pool of over 500 professional mentors and a large group of colleagues from my trust are joining this November, to mentor students and highlight the quality of service we provide within the working environment, and the importance of multidisciplinary roles within the NHS.

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